This paper reports on the results of a study to investigate how scholars engage with and use the action design research (ADR) approach. ADR has been acknowledged as an important variant of the Design Science Research approach, and has been adopted by a number of scholars, as the methodological basis for doctoral dissertations as well as multidisciplinary research projects. With this use, the research community is learning about how to apply ADR’s central tenets in different contexts. In this paper, we draw on primary data from researchers who have recently engaged in or finished an ADR project to identify recurring problems and opportunities related to working in different ADR stages, balancing demands from practice and research, and addressing problem instance vs. class of problems. Our work contributes a greater understanding of how ADR projects are carried out in practice, how researchers use ADR, and pointers to possibilities for extending ADR.